How can Kobe Bryant be gone?

Writing those words about a 41-yr old icon is surreal. Writing them about your favorite athlete to ever play the game is soul-sucking. 

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas. 

Through swollen, teary eyes, I type these words. And I still don't believe them as I do. This can't be true. This isn't how his legacy was supposed to end. 

In seconds, hearts grew heavy all over the world. A bevy of sports stars, celebrities, and fans shared their pain on social media. 

I was one of them. 

I shared a video here, that was taken the last time he would ever play again, in his hometown in Philadelphia. I knew when I watched him walk away in the tunnel, it would be the last time I'd see him play live. I had no idea it would be the last time I'd see him ah-live. 

I authored a column about the mindset of Kobe the night he retired, here. I've been blessed to see him play over a dozen times--including one of his five NBA Championship victories. But even if you've only witnessed Kobe through the screen, you know. 

Something happens. 

As with any witness to greatness, when it's over, you carry a little piece of it with you. When you crush a run. When you ace a test. When you score a big raise.  When you beat someone out of a parking space-- you feel like Kobe. You feel like a mamba. That's what makes this so unfathomable...

Mambas aren't supposed to die. 

Just Saturday, when Kobe was asked about being passed on the all-time scoring list, he said,

"greatness wasn't worth anything if you couldn't share it."

So yes. Kobe Bryant is gone. 

But the little bit of greatness he left inside us all, will never die.

 

Rest in peace Gianna Bryant.  

Rest in peace to the other passengers on the plane.

And rest in peace to Kobe Bryant- who shared his greatness with us to the end.

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